Books Being Read By Me — A Look Into My UX Library

An Enjoyable Sisyphean Endeavor

two books
Two of the Insightful Books I’m reading at the moment!

As I’m typing this, the US (and other parts of the world) are still dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic. A lot of people have been on a mission to sharpen some kind of skill (or a few), read more books, watch some enlightening content or cook more (this sentence will be great to read again in a few years and be an interesting tidbit to give future Digital Archaeologists and Historians).

Since summer of 2020, I’ve kept busy with a hodgepodge of various projects, attending online events, among other things (while also applying for a new job). Reading Books wasn’t in that string of Covid activities only because I’ve been reading for years. In the sheltered environment of Covid, however, I’ve been reading more in small chunks of certain books every week and at least visiting most of my volumes to review overall content and skim sections.

I’ve heard various opinions from people about the pros and cons in relying on print for digital problems. Some pros being that good UX books can be great reference materials (more on that below), can instill larger topics and problems in context of user experience and research (philosophy, art and design, etc) and some volumes can be very helpful in handling specific UX problems or user research scenarios. One of the main con (cons?) that I heard is that, obviously, a book is either outdated or will be quickly outdated by the time people read it.

Despite this one con (I can’t think of any big ones as I write this), I think it’s fairly easy to supplement whatever you’re reading with other online resources. I’m subbed to quite a few UX and design newsletters and it’s somewhat easy to find authors of volumes on various social media sites. With me being the avid reader, my challenge is to only keep books that will be good reference material.

What I’m Reading Now

Right now, I’m reading the following books:

  • Work Like a Boss by Nancy Lyons — a fantastic book on how to effectively work and collaborate with others, authored by one of my heroes, Nancy Lyons, a leader in the Twin Cities work/business sphere
  • Ruined by Design by Mike Monteiro — a library book I’m reading bit by bit. It’s a great volume tackling more pressing problems when it comes to designing for users when working for bigger companies and Mike is another one of my heroes when calling out design culture and I’d love to someday get in touch or collaborate with him!
  • Articulating Design Solutions by Tom Greever (2nd Edition) — another library book I’m looking to peruse through and gain insights on how to present design solutions to a variety of stakeholders/non-designers/laypeople. I wasn’t expecting to get this book into my hands as quickly as I did, but that’s the *magic* of the Hennepin Co Library hold system!!

I’m looking to dive into these two this summer (and write about them later):

  • Sketching User Experiences — this is one of the volumes in my weekly project “syllabus”. I decided to dive into this book, and the workbook below, to sharpen my sketching skills (I think they can always use help). Bill Buxton is a long-time UX/design veteran known for his work at Microsoft, among other companies, and his information is easily digestible and logically segmented and written.
  • Sketching User Experiences the Workbook — the workbook that accompanies the Sketching User Experiences book. It has a few more authors working with Buxton to help distill ideas from the OG volume into exercises (some done solo and other done with team members).

What’s on My Shelf?

left side of u x bookshelf
The Left Side of my UX Book Shelf
right side of u x bookshelf
…and the Right Side of the same shelf

UX “Bibles” or Classics

General UX Design

User Observance/Research

Communication and Managing Projects

Coding/Type

Digital Philosophy and Ideas

I recommend any of these books…but you don’t have to take my word for it…

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My name is Rachel Smith. I’m a User Experience Designer, Researcher, Digital Anthropologist, and Forever Curious! Find me at forevercurious.design

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